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Redistributing the Surplus: Insights from the Political Economy of Cash Transfers in Bolivia (2005 – 2014)

Aston, Thomas; (2019) Redistributing the Surplus: Insights from the Political Economy of Cash Transfers in Bolivia (2005 – 2014). Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis aims to explain the key political economy drivers for the introduction of universal cash transfer programmes in countries which rely on natural resources, considering how their introduction and expansion may strengthen or weaken citizen-state relations in this context. The thesis uses Bolivia as a case study, focusing on the period 2005 – 2014, with fieldwork undertaken in La Paz and El Alto. It employs a political economy analysis framework and uses process tracing and discourse analysis as primary methods, supported by surveys and interviews. We argue that in this context the introduction and scale up to universal cash transfers is primarily driven by shifts in the fiscal capture of natural resource rent, the salience of redistributive and egalitarian ideas in political discourse, and the combination of political linkage strategies employed by politicians to appeal to citizens. We posit that higher-level normative ideas are particularly important, especially if these are domestic in origin and arise from or relate to core political constituencies. Despite evidence of resource nationalist ideas and rights-based language, we find the role of civil society to be weak. Moreover, we assert that where programmes are strongly influenced by charismatic (populist) political linkage strategies and where mechanisms for citizen-state interface are weak, programmes are more likely to be perceived as patronage than rights. We argue that in this context, cash transfers do not constitute “rightful shares,” and ultimately do not strengthen rightsbased citizen-state relations.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Redistributing the Surplus: Insights from the Political Economy of Cash Transfers in Bolivia (2005 – 2014)
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Development Planning Unit
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10085663
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